CMS Requests More Info on Proposed California Medicaid Cuts

On the deadline day to rule on California’s proposed state plan amendments that critics say would severely cut Medicaid program funding, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asked for additional information, according to a news announcement from the California Medical Association.

By asking for the additional information on Sept. 28 – the day it was supposed to announce a decision on whether or not it would allow those Medicaid cuts – CMS effectively “stopped the clock on the 90-day deadline to rule on proposed state plan amendments,” said California Medical Association General Counsel/VP Francisco J. Silva.

Silva acknowledged that CMS had the right to request additional documentation from the state of California, but added, “Whether or not that documentation is adequate or even exists is yet to be seen.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s state budget for 2011 into law, but because the bill included significant Medicaid funding cuts, the state is required to prove “that access to care would remain equal for Medi-Cal and privately insured patients,” Silva said.

Medi-Cal is the name of California’s Medicaid program.

“We certainly understand CMS’s need for additional information from California’s Department of Health Care Services,” Silva said. “We’re not convinced, however, that the state has the background information to share. They should have had that data ready to submit when the state plan amendments were sent to CMS, yet we have been told the information is not available to share.”

Silva added, “We don’t believe the state can demonstrate that access to care wouldn’t be impacted.”

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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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